New Context For Constructing Asian Feminist Theology In An Era Of Neoempire

Over the last decade, especially after the end of the Cold War, the so-called 'empire-discourse' has emerged in the context of neo-imperialism and globalization. A series of works has depicted the experience of American victory over Communism, and the field of American hegemony in geopolitics, economics and mass culture in the world. In their thought-provoking work, Hard and Negri interpret 'empire' as 'a decentered and deterritorialising apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers'.25 This is, in a way, a radicalized version of the 'globalization' that we experience today. This empire-discourse tries to set the economic, cultural and political world today within a political framework, and it further shows us how neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism become new forms of political/cultural/economic dependency on particular western nations such as the United States.26

2^ Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 217.

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000). 26 p. xii.

Colonialism can be defined as the organized deployment of racialized and gendered constructs for practices of political rule over other racial/ethnic groups, which requires a territorial invasion. Imperialism shares with colonialism a tendency of domination over other peoples. However, imperialism can refer to an organized power's intention to institutionalize and expand its

Generally speaking, colonialism/imperialism is about power and ruling, and thereby about domination and subjugation. Therefore efforts to change the subordinate status of a certain group of people, like women, require a consideration of the nature of power. One must note at the outset that power is an elusive concept that must be characterized as essentially contested. Different theories of power rest on different assumptions about both the content of existence and the ways one comes to know it. That is, different theories of power rest on differing ontologies and episte-mologies, and a feminist rethinking of power requires attention to its epistemological groundings. Epistemologies, or theories of knowing, grow out of differing material contexts.

Feminism has often depicted women's oppression using the metaphor of the colonizer and the colonized. There exist certain similarities between the colonization of undeveloped countries and women's oppression within patriarchy: economic dependence, the cultural take-over, the identification of dignity with a resemblance to the oppressor.27 Like the relationship of colonizer to colonized, patriarchal culture has defined women as different in kind from men, and denied women's right to own property and a share in the economic means of production. Therefore, it is argued that '[i]f we transpose the descriptions of colonized and colonizer to women and men, they fit at almost every point', and further that 'like slave-masters and colonizers they have expected women to identify their interests with their

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